Movie Reviews

Before last Friday and this Friday, I’ve seen eight movies. I feel like my eyeballs are frozen. Let’s do some quick reviews

1. Now You See Me (viewed on 6/14)


A film about magicians and robbing banks, “Now You See Me” kept me on my toes. The movie featured an ensemble cast of Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Mark Ruffalo, Jessie Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, and Melanie Laurent. Visual effects of the magic scenes were enjoyable. The “seeing the big picture” concept harkens back to Nolan’s “The Prestige” which I liked. Laurent’s performance was very enjoyable, her accent is very luring and she was awesome in Inglorious Basterds. My rating: 3/5 stars

2. This is the End (viewed on 6/14)


Hilarious film about the apocalypse starring Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and Jay Baruchel as extremely douchey (in Jay’s case, self-righteous) versions of themselves. This film features inappropriate jokes and lots of blood and gore. Not kid-friendly, but therein lies the charm. Go with a bunch of bros and prepare to have your stomach hurt from all the laughing. My peeps in Taiwan: this movie doesn’t come out until September, but it’s a must see. My rating: 5/5 stars

3. Man of Steel (viewed on 6/15)


Yet another remake of the Superman series. In this movie, we explore Superman’s origin and how he ended up on Earth. I enjoyed the scenes on Krypton but I felt the beginning was too drawn out. The ending was just endless fighting and felt rushed. Yet, I thought Henry Cavill did a superb job. Not only does he look the part (man, he’s HOT) but I enjoyed his portrayal of Superman. I also loved the scenes between a young Clark Kent and his adoptive parents on Earth, played by Diane Lane and Kevin Costner. The strong sense of moral that his father instilled in him and the deep connection he had with with his parents were the best parts of the movie, for me. My rating: 3.5/5 stars

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (viewed on 6/16)


I read the book one summer during college. It freaked me out so much that I was afraid to go to bed after I finished it at 2am. I forgot how this movie came into the conversation but Roxy and I decided to watch it at her house when it was still light out. Rooney Mara did a marvelous job. I almost didn’t recognize her. The overall plotline was okay, but I felt everything was sort of sudden. That would make sense because the book was a brick and the movie was less than two hours long. My rating: 2.5/5 stars

5. Before Sunrise (viewed on 6/18)


My friends from undergrad have been hounding me to see this movie and its sequel for ages. I finally got around to seeing it this week because the third installment had come out in theaters in Monterey. Before going in, I had an rough outline of the movie but in no way was I prepared for the brilliance of the dialogue and the acting. There are only two characters, Jesse and Celine, played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. There is no action, no plot, minimal changes of setting. In its almost documentary-like style, it almost seems like we are intruding on a private conversation. These two young adults explore themselves and each other through themselves. I felt a special connection with this movie because the characters were close to my age. My rating: 5/5 stars

6. Before Sunset (viewed on 6/19)


The following night, I watched the second installment. It was just as good. I like how the actors wrote parts of the dialogue themselves and put personal experience into it. The second movie is set 9 years after the first one and I love how the characters’ experiences and memories have changed and shaped them. But deep down, they are still the same two individuals that felt a geniune connection with each other during that one night 9 years ago. The conversation was emotional and candid. I can’t decide which of the first two I liked better. My rating: 5/5 stars

7. World War Z (viewed on 6/20)


My romantic film streak was broken by this zombie summer blockbuster because a close friend was leaving for LA and we wanted to spend some time together before that. I wanted to see this movie ever since the first time I saw the trailer because, even though Brad Pitt is a pretty boy, I love his acting. I also wanted to see how the writers would solve the problem of the zombie plague. I think the director did a good job of capturing the panic and despair of humanity. There was no doubt that Pitt was the physical and emotional core of the movie. He played the part of a doting father well, a role, I’m sure, that came easy for him. The ending felt a bit rushed and I can’t help but wonder if the original ending, that was scrapped, would’ve been better. Zombie effects were pretty good, I was thoroughly freaked out. My rating: 3.5/5 stars

8. Before Midnight (viewed on 6/21)

Before_Midnight_posterI was pleasantly surprised a small town like Monterey would show a movie like this. It was real and raw. Jesse and Celine are now in their early 40’s and have spent the last 10 years together. They have grown even more as individuals and as a couple. They talk and argue and reminisce. The movie is set on a lovely Greek island which gave me an even stronger sense of familiarity because I had spent three years there. This was equally as good as the first two installments but I didn’t enjoy it as much. I think it is perhaps because I’m just not at the point in my life yet. So I recommended it to my parents. I’m sure they would related to it a lot better than I could. My rating: 5/5 stars


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